Managing Your Crohn’s Disease Symptoms

crohn's_diseaseCrohn’s disease is named after Dr. Burrill B. Crohn, who first identified the disease in 1932. It's part of a group of conditions commonly referred to as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Crohn’s disease presents as inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract and most often impacts the end of the small bowel and the start of the colon. It can also affect the skin, joints, and eyes.

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease isn’t known, but doctors and researchers believe it’s an overreaction of the body’s immune system, as well as a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Approximately 20 percent of patients suffering from Crohn’s disease have a blood relative with IBD.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes IBD in its Blue Book listing of impairments, and if you have Crohn’s disease, you can qualify for benefits under 5.06 of the Digestive System section. Although the SSA includes IBD as a digestive system disorder, you need to meet the requirements for this disease. It can help to have an experienced disability lawyer to walk you through the application process.

Crohn’s Disease: Statistics and Findings

Although there's still a lot that’s not known about Crohn’s disease, there are some interesting statistics about it, including:

  • Both men and women can develop Crohn’s disease, but more boys are likely to develop IBD.
  • Inflammation can occur at any point in the GI tract.
  • Nearly 1.5 million people in the U.S. are affected by IBD, and 600,000 have Crohn’s disease.
  • If you’re a smoker, your risk of developing Crohn’s disease doubles.
  • People who live in areas of lower latitudes have a lower risk of developing Crohn’s disease than those living at higher latitudes.
  • In 2010, over 150,000 people were admitted to hospitals with Crohn’s disease.
  • You're most likely to be diagnosed with IBD if you’re between the ages of 15 and 30.
  • Over 60 percent of people in remission will have at least one relapse over five years.

Living With Crohn’s Disease

There's no cure for Crohn’s disease. However, researchers and doctors are gaining ground toward finding new and effective treatments for this condition. A key element in living with Crohn’s disease is to work with your doctor to define a treatment plan. Prescription medications treat Crohn’s disease by helping to control the inflammation that affects your symptoms, as well as bring about remission. The medication your doctor prescribes depends on if you have mild, moderate, or severe Crohn’s disease.

Here's a brief look at some of the drugs used for treating this disease:

  • Antibiotics. These are used if you have an infection or to treat complications of Crohn’s disease.
  • Corticosteroids. Also known as steroids, these drugs help decrease inflammation by suppressing the body’s immune system. They are usually given to patients who have moderate–to–severe symptoms.
  • Aminosalicylates. Also known as 5-ASAs, aminosalicylates are used to treat patients with mild–to–moderate Crohn’s disease. These drugs decrease inflammation in the intestinal lining.
  • Biologics. Also called biologic therapies, these drugs are often given to patients who haven't responded to other drugs and treatments.  
  • Immunomodulators. Also called immune modifiers, these drugs suppress the body’s immune response, so it stops causing continuous inflammation. 

There are also other strategies for dealing with Crohn’s disease such as decreasing your stress; not smoking, drinking, or taking drugs; and exercising and eating right. While these may seem obvious, nutrition and overall healthy lifestyle habits can be major factors in managing Crohn’s disease.

Although researchers have found no evidence that Crohn’s disease is linked to what you eat, different types of food and drink may irritate your symptoms.

Some people suffering with Crohn’s disease find that the following approaches are beneficial:

  • Limiting products with dairy
  • Eating foods lower in fat
  • Avoiding foods that cause gas
  • Eating smaller portions during meals
  • Staying hydrated
  • Experimenting with foods containing fiber

We Can Help You File for Disability

If you have Crohn’s disease and need disability benefits, hiring a Social Security (SS) disability attorney to advocate on your behalf can increase your chances of getting your claim approved. Contact the attorneys at Cuddigan Law (402) 933-5405 for experienced, skilled assistance to help you get the financial support you need and deserve. Cuddigan Law handles SS disability claims for clients who need help with their applications, or the appeals process if their claim was denied. Fill out our online form today.

 

Timothy J. Cuddigan
Omaha Social Security and Veterans Disability Lawyer With Over 40 Years Experience